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colin_rudolph

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Hey all, I've got a question about my mead fermentation. My Mead has been in the Carboy for about 4 weeks now, my original gravity was 1.090 and now it has dropped to 1.010
my airlock is about 32 seconds between bubbles.
Here's my recipie if it will help you any

15 pounds honey
4tsp Acid Blend
4tsp Yeast Nutrient
15 grams Champange Yeast (EC-118 I think)
It's a 5 Gal. batch.
Recipie says O.G. should be 1.100 - 1.090 and F.G. ought to be 1.020 - 1.010

My questions are:
I. When should I rack the mead into a secondary carboy? How long should I leave it to sit on the lees?
II. Should I bottle it now, or wait until the bubbles have totally stopped?
III. If I bottle it before the bubbles have totally stopped, what will happen? and what F.G. is this thing going to get to?
It has a good taste now, don't want it to get any drier, what do I do?
 

sirsloop

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Wait! Champagne yeast ferments dry! If you are still bubbling you cannot bottle without risking bottle bombs. if you are still bubbling at 30sec intervals, its still going so I would not rack it off the lees. After its finished then you can decide if you want to kill off the yeast and back sweeten.
 
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colin_rudolph

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Alright, I figured that I would probably get bottle bombs. I don't want this to be ultra dry. I've talked to a friend of mine and he said I could either add clearing agent and wait one week, when it cleared I could bottle it, another friend of mine told me to get some Sodium Metabisulphate and add that, stir it three times a day and that would kill my yeasts so that this didn't get any drier.
Any advice?
How do I backsweeten?
 

sirsloop

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The best way is to let the mead finish dry. After its done and is clear, rack it off the lees into a secondary container. Add Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Bisulfite. After that, add your sugars. Take a gravity reading now so you can get an idea on about how much sugar you want to add back in.

Basically, Potassium Sorbate prevents yeast from multiplying and Sodium Bisulfite kills a percentage of the yeast that stayed in suspension. The remaining yeast are too few in numbers to successfully start up any meaningful fermentation, and the beverage remains sweet. It is difficult to completely stop natural fermentation during log, which is why I recommend you wait until it finishes and clears. You can use Bentonite to help the mead clear up faster.
 

CBBaron

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You have several choices for a sweet or non dry mead. Either exceed the tolerance of the yeast with honey additions, stop the ferment at the desired residual gravity or allow it to complete then stabilize and back sweeten.
With champagne yeast you don't want to exceed its tolerance because it has a very high tolerance so you will have a 18+% ABV mead which will take forever to age and be ready to drink.
Stopping an active fermentation is tricky and prone to error, not usually recommend but some people have done it.
Stabilizing and back sweetening is usually the desired solution. How you do this is add sulfite and k-meta (campden tablets) to the mead once it is stable and clear. Then add back honey to the desired sweetness. Allow it to clear and stabilize again and then bottle.
Bottling your mead now is a sure way to get bombs. Making mead requires exceptional patience because it takes much longer to be ready.
Craig

<edit>sirsloop described the process better than I did while I was writing my reply.
 

malkore

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champagne yeast should take you below 1.000... 0.990 or so it should be dry.
 
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colin_rudolph

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alright, so I'll wait until it finishes, which ought to be around 1.000 - 0.990 and then figure out what I want to do with it? Thanks a lot. How many more weeks should this take to finish up? How long should I leave it on the lees.
Thanks!

~Colin
 

malkore

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did you ever give it yeast energizer, or just nutrient? nutrient usually doesn't have nitrogen, which is what yeast need in a mead (unless there's a lot of fruit)

you may need to dissolve a teaspoon of energizer in a little boiled and cooled water, pour it in and very very gently stir...no splashing. that may renew some activity to finish this up. give it another 2 weeks after that and see. mead gets sluggish at the end, especially if it didn't start with a lot of nitrogen.
 
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colin_rudolph

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Malkore - no I think the stuff I put in at the start was yeast energizer, whatever it was it was supposed to speed the yeast up so that it wouldn't take forever.
I think I'm going to check the S.G. today, if it's still at 1.010 I'm going to add a clearing agent (isokleer), give it a week, if it's done I'll bottle, if it's not done in a week I'm going to rack into another carboy and let it sit there until it's done. I don't want to keep it on the lees any longer, another week and it'll have been five weeks, so it'll be time to rack it off.
So yeah Isokleer, wait a week, either bottle or rack, if I rack I'll just let it run until it's done. If it finishes dry I'll backsweeten, I've heard you can do that with wine conditioner?
 
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colin_rudolph

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if it's not done by next weekend, and I rack it into another carboy, would it hurt to give it a teaspoon of yeast energizer? Just to speed it up along the way?
 

Yooper

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I think you're really rushing to try to clear it before it's done fermenting. Mead generally takes months and months before it's really ready to consider fining. I don't even use finings, usually- it clears on its own very well. With mead, you don't count fermenting time in weeks, you count it in months, and age it sometimes for years!

Giving it some yeast nutrient doesn't really speed things up- it keeps the yeast healthy to reduce off flavors and provide food/nutrition for the yeast.
 
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colin_rudolph

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Ok, so months and months, good. Actually I just took my S.G., it's at 1.010 now, and has been steady there for the past three days. Naturally I'm drinking the contents of my testing jar, and I'm surprised to say it tastes quite good. So this has been steady at 1.010 for three days, it started at 1.090.
I brewed this on the 17th of December, so any idea on how many more months?
the guy who works at the local brewstore said that this stuff must be pretty much fermented out and the lowest it would get might be around 1.000. any ideas?
 
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colin_rudolph

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Oh, I'm doing plenty of relaxing, not worrying, and having some homebrew's tonight, it IS Saturday after all.
Seriously though, July 17th? You've honestly got to be joking..please?..
 

Yooper

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I think with champagne yeast, you'll finish between .990-.996. Add some nutrient, and wait it out. You can probably rack in the next month or so, though. And then wait some more. I rack whenever I have lees over 1/4 inch think or more in 45-60 days.

I don't know if July 17 is realistic for drinking it- but it should be done by then. It'll be "hot" and not aged, but it should be done fermenting. By Christmas, it'll be ok. By next Christmas, it'll start being good.
 

sirsloop

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YooperBrew said:
I think with champagne yeast, you'll finish between .990-.996. Add some nutrient, and wait it out. You can probably rack in the next month or so, though. And then wait some more. I rack whenever I have lees over 1/4 inch think or more in 45-60 days.

I don't know if July 17 is realistic for drinking it- but it should be done by then. It'll be "hot" and not aged, but it should be done fermenting. By Christmas, it'll be ok. By next Christmas, it'll start being good.

Heh heh... yeah on July 17th you can bottle it... and sometime at the end of the year you can drink it :p
 
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colin_rudolph

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Sorry to revive a dead thread, but the bubbles in this batch are 200 seconds apart now, and not lively at all, I racked it to another carboy this Saturday past. I was thinking of bottling this weekend if the bubbles stay 200 seconds apart..any thoughts? I heard that you can bottle wine at ninety seconds between bubbles so I thought maybe 200 would be good for this.
It's pretty clear now since I've racked it, you can shine a light right through it and see your hand on the other side..
 

flowerysong

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Bubbling means nothing; you have to check the SG. Check it now, and check it in a week; if the two readings are the same, it's done fermenting.
 
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colin_rudolph said:
It's pretty clear now since I've racked it, you can shine a light right through it and see your hand on the other side..
WAIT WAIT WAIT!!!

Don't take any more samples until you can read a newspaper article through the carboy. You're just rushing things and wasting mead with over-enthusiastic sampling.

When it's nice and clear (sometime this Spring), bottle. It'll surely be done fermenting by then.

After you've bottled, wait at least 3 months before you think about cracking one open.

I don't wanna hear another peep about bubbles and bottling for another month.

RDWHAHB. Your patience will be rewarded.
 
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colin_rudolph

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shunoshi said:
If you do that you can send me a bottle as a b-day present. ;)
Sure! If it stays in the Carboy until July 17th I'll be glad to get rid of it hahahaha
 
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